I’d expected his father to open the door, see me, and slam it shut in my face with or without uttering a profanity or two. Eli opened the door however, looking amused.
“Ya know,” he commented in a tone that notified me that he was about to be a smart ass, “I could have sworn I’d seen you just twenty minutes ago. In fact, it’s almost as if we’d just gone out on a date.”
I gave him a sarcastic laugh. “You sayin’ you tired of me, Eli?”
“You sayin’ you can’t bear the thought of being apart from me, Luke?”
We stood in the doorway for a long two minutes staring at each other before he grabbed me by the shirt, pulled me in against him, and locked those sweet lips of his with mine. The kiss was short, though, and left me reeling.
“Get in here.” Eli led the way. I closed the door behind me. The first thing I noticed was the quiet. It was about eight in the evening, usually his parents were home, in the living room, which was dark at the moment.
He had siblings: Jesse, Kevin, and Jonas. All his brothers were older and already out on their own.
“Are your parents here?” I asked him, wondering if maybe they were elsewhere in the house.
“No, they’re gone for the night.” My stomach jumped as Eli looked at me, “Friend of dad’s landed in the hospital.”
“Man, that sucks.” I hesitated for a moment. When he didn’t say anything, I continued with: “So…we’re alone.”
His expression turned curious. “Yes. Are you trying to say something, Lucas Sullivan?”
I realized I could say yes and he’d likely let things…happen…but I was still a virgin, and scared out of my wits about doing something like that (I mean, that is a huge deal), so I instead smiled as I shook my head at him. I swear he looked disappointed.
“Not that. I am afraid of your dad, though.”
The disappointment melted away with his laugh. Taking my hand, he led me to his bedroom. I’d never actually been in his room before; his parents never let me out of their sight whenever I visited.
Upon getting there, I had expected a mess. I mean nearly every person I’d ever hung out with had messy bedrooms. I, myself, had a messy bedroom. Eli’s room, however…was immaculate, pristine, spotless. I stood in the doorway, gaping. Much like him, his room was captivating. The walls were a beige/light tan, and there were about eight lights located in the ceiling at well-spaced intervals, bathing the room with warm, white light. There hung various posters on the walls, and some family photos. The bed was center of the room, his desk past it, sitting by the far wall, next to his closet. There were two windows in the room, one on each side of the bed about three feet away from it, shrouded with dark brown curtains, both of which were closed at the moment.
“Your dad issue military-rigid cleaning protocol or something?” I asked before I could stop myself.
Eli shook his head. “No, actually; I do it for the sake of my mental health. A clean room makes me feel less cluttered in, less trapped, if you will.”
I found myself feeling more drawn to him than ever. He found my staring to be me judging him, however.
“What?” he asked, on the defense, “got a problem with that?”
My defenses shot up, and it took everything I had not to revert into flight mode. Eli meant more than they ever had, I had to remember that.
“No! I’m so sorry.” He thawed as my pride bitched (which I ignored) and pushed on with my apology: “I’m mesmerized by this, by you, Eli. I…”
He came over to me, placed his hands on my face, and spoke in between the kisses he planted all over my face.
“I. Am. So. Sorry. Of course. I. Know. I’m. Such An. Idiot.” He pulled back as a laugh bubbled out of me. “Hey. Why you laughin’? I’m bein’ serious!”
I put my arms around his waist as emotions drowned me in waves.
“I love you,” I said, giving him a kiss. He didn’t kiss me back, though, and that’s when it hit me. I froze. Eli eased back slowly, eyes wide. The emotion in them surged rapidly between shock and total wonder.
“Say that again,” he whispered.
I swallowed, scared that I now wouldn’t be able to do that. Not because I hadn’t meant it, but because of the enormity of those words.
“I…” It was then it occurred to me that, as I took a real look within, my anxiety had been working overtime again; the feelings were there, clear as day. What had I been so worried about? I took the plunge.
“I love you.”
He pulled away from me entirely, hands covering his mouth. As he turned away from me and began to pace, I began to worry and was also kind of…confused…by his reaction. Had I said—
He whirled towards me, then.
“I love you, too!” he said clearly, if not a little bit loudly. There was some fright in his eyes (love was a huge deal, too, after all), but I saw he held no doubts. My smile returned with the elation.
He let out a laugh and ran into my arms. I caught him, used the momentum to spin around, and then kissed him as I set him back on his feet. He loved me! My brain was full of very excited, very gay screaming.
“Do you want to have sex?” He asked.
My world froze again.
He looked mildly puzzled.
“Do you want to play on the PlayStation X?”
I blinked. Oh.
“Yeah! Sure! Sounds fun.”
We played a racing game that required us taking turns with a controller because it didn’t support two-controller gaming. Laughter came as easily as the teasing. In between tracks we’d kiss a little bit. It was very fun; time with Eli was always fun.
Around ten-thirty, a loud clap of thunder startled me into dropping the controller. Before Eli had time to make fun of me, the power went out.
“Shit!” Eli hissed.
“Uh, Eli…” The room was pitch black and my claustrophobia was already kicking in. He knew of it, having found out the hard way when an elevator we were in had stalled and the lights went out.
“You’re okay, Luke,” he assured me. His phone’s flashlight turned on and illuminated the entire room and then some. He gazed at me, concerned. He was standing. “Better?”
I nodded. It was already just a memory.
He smiled and helped me to my feet.
“Come on, let’s go find some candles.”
They were located in, for lack of a better term, a storage room (which was a spare room they’d chosen to use for odds and ends). We got only three, found some matches, brought with us some water in case the candles got out of control somehow, and went back to his room. We put one on his nightstand by the bed, and one on his desk. The third one went on the TV stand.
After this, with golden candlelight flickering all around us, he turned to me.
“You can go home if you want. Since there’s not much to do until the power comes back on, and I don’t want you feeling bored.”
I studied him. “Do you want me to go home?”
A slight smile pulled at his lips.
“Luke, you already know the answer to that.”
The answer is no, was my first thought, but then: what if this time it’s different? What if he’s starting to get tired of me? What if—
A kiss on my lips surprised me out of my downward spiral.
“I always want you to stay,” he whispered afterwards. His hands on my hips pulled me in closer; he nipped another kiss at my lips and then put his head over my shoulder and began to sway. I needn’t ask what we were doing, it was obvious. I moved with him, absolutely loving this.
That’s when things began to evolve between us.
“Do you, uhm, ever…uh…” he let out an awkward laugh. “Uh, never mind.”
I leaned back to look at him in the romantic lighting. He met my gaze for a literal second before looking away over my shoulder. He was clearly uncomfortable, and most of me wanted to just drop it, but a teeny tiny part of me, my intuition maybe, had an inkling of what this may be about and wanted to know for sure.
Don’t push him, logic warned.
But you want to know, my intuition replied.
Clearly he’s not comfortable; keep your promise to respect him. Don’t push.
There’s a way to push while being gentle about it, intuition argued.
I decided to try. If a gentle push caused him to burrow further I would stop, apologize, and hope the moment hadn’t been ruined. Okay. That sounded good.
“Eli, what…uh, what are you, if you don’t mind my asking, talking about?”
His body relaxed against mine all at once, while he tightened his arms around me.
“You are always so gentle with me,” he murmured. “I love it.”
Hmm, yes; but that didn’t answer my question, did it?
“I try,” I murmured back.
He took a deep breath.
“Okay. I don’t know why I’m so nervous but. Okay. Uhm. Do you ever think…uhm…about s…sex...uh...I mean with...with me?”
The sound of brakes squealing sounded in my head. Right after that, I was downright convinced that I had misheard him. I had the first time, after all.
“Uh, did I hear that right?”
“I’m sorry.” He pulled away from me then, and went to go sit on the bed, staring at his hands in his lap. I stood for a moment, watching him, feeling just as awkward as he seemed to feel. Abruptly, I wondered why. I mean…we were in a relationship, sex was often a part of relationships, and we’d been going out for six months. We weren’t exactly strangers. So, I took a deep breath, joined him on the bed, and said quietly:
“I have. A lot, actually.”
He looked at me, intrigued.
As my stomach twisted with anxiety, I realized if anything was going to happen (not tonight just…whenever), I needed to be completely honest with him; I had to be completely open to him. I had to trust him.
“You never made a move, though.”
“Because I’ve never…”
His eyes widened for a split second with understanding. “Oh!” Then he looked relieved. “Me, too.”
I tried to hide my surprise as best as I could, but I must’ve failed, or he could predict how I’d react because he said:
“Yeah, I know. Everyone at that school thinks I’m experienced but when it came down to it, and pretty much all of them tried to get me to do it, I just…couldn’t.”
“Any idea why?” I asked him.
“Because it never felt right.” He looked at me. “You know?”
I held his gaze, and then placed a hand on his cheek.
“I do know, more than you realize.” I gave him a soft kiss.